Delhi govt to restore 90 wells to tap rainwater

he Delhi Jal Board Chairman and Water Minister Kapil Mishra reviewed progress of DJB’s flood water harvesting project at Palla floodplains, which is one of its kind in the world. The  “Conserve & Use” flood plain project has been restarted by the Delhi Jal Board, which was revived by the Delhi Government last year.

After the initiation of this Palla project, DJB has already created an… extra 10 million gallons per day (10 MGD). In the next 6 months, 35 MGD will be created in the first phase and reaching a total of 60 MGD by the end of the year, in terms of extra production. A new reservoir will also be created in Palla, which will be monitored by a central control room with automatic SCADA monitoring which will monitor water quality like arsenic, salinity which will shut down tubewells if there is contamination.

On Wednesday, Kapil Mishra, Minister for Water and Tourism, Delhi Government, along with senior officials of Delhi Jal board, Professor, Vikram Soni, Mr. Diwan Singh (Natural Heritage First) and Mr.  Bolisetty Satyanarayana (Social Activist from Andhra Pradesh) visited Palla Well Fields. After deliberations on the spot, to expedite the project, (so that Delhi is no longer deprived off this assured drinking water) it was decided:

1.   To repair the existing pipeline a-  so that till the new pipeline comes into existence this will deliver at least 28 MGD everyday

2.   A new pipeline to carry at least  50 MGD will be laid on an SOS basis

3.   Sensors to monitor salinity, nitrates, fluorides, iron will be installed.

Dr. Vikram Soni, Professor Emeritus at JNU, said, “This is a new perennial source of water for the urban regions of the country which can be used year on year and can also act as contingency water reserves to be used in case of emergency. This is one of the last unpolluted sources of water for Indian cities which recharges itself naturally. As long as you don’t over-exploit this resource, and prevent encroachment on a river floodplains, it can become of dependable source for around 300 towns and cities in India. I commend Delhi Jal Board for starting this landmark program on war footing to provide extra water for Delhi, and hope that other cities also start work on this idea.”

Diwan Singh, a water activist who assisted Soni with the plan, said that the proposal was drafted in 2007 and since then, they had been pursuing the matter with DJB. “The government is already drawing about 25-30 million gallons per day from here through existing tubewells and supplying to various areas nearby. The floodplain gets recharged each year during the monsoon at which point about 100 mcm is available for extraction. While this cannot be withdrawn in one go, the project will not only increase daily availability of water for Delhi but will also act as an emergency store,” said Singh.

DJB Chairman Kapil Mishra said, “Water would be drawn from the floodplains using about 105 tubewells and 5 ranney wells. Delhi has been dependent on Haryana and UP for its water and we faced a major crisis when the Munak canal crisis happened. Local river floodplain subterranean sand aquifers had natural storage and are recharged from monsoon rain each year. Sandy river aquifers of the Yamuna are 5-20km wide and can be between 40 and 100m deep. More than a third of this volume is water. Since most of the southern floodplain is encroached upon, the relatively free northern floodplain from Burari till Palla is being conserved and used for the Yamuna floodplain project. Delhi will become the pathbreaking example for interesting “

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